Informal Political Communication and Network Theory in the Late Roman Republic


  • Cristina Rosillo-López Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla



Roman republic, communication theory, Cicero


This paper aims at analysing informal conversations between senators during the Late Roman Republic through the lens of network theory in order to discern strategies to look for and circulate information. Elite informal conversations (frequently defined as sermo by the sources) were an everyday event in politics and went beyond relationships of amicitia or friendship. Informal exchanges framed the way in which political deals were made, opinions were tentatively questioned, news circulated, and Roman senators looked for information, exactly as described by the Latin verb expiscor, which expresses the same metaphor as the modern expression “to angle (or fish) for information”. I shall analyse such informal conversations through social network analysis (SNA) looking for relevant nodes, liaisons and relevant information channels, in order to understand how such informal conversations worked as an informal part of the political system.




How to Cite

Rosillo-López, C. (2020) “Informal Political Communication and Network Theory in the Late Roman Republic”, Journal of Historical Network Research. Luxembourg, 4, pp. 90–113. doi: 10.25517/jhnr.v4i0.75.